Brooke Friendly has been folk and country dancing for more than 30 years and has taught since 1982. She teaches an ongoing English dance class for the Southern Oregon University (SOU) Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. With her husband, Chris Sackett, she co-leads a weekly community dance in Ashland which includes both English and Scottish country dance. For a number of years, she taught an academic credit class on English and Scottish country dance at SOU.
Brooke has been on staff at numerous dance camps, weekends, festivals, balls, and other events around North America and England. In 2007 and 2008, she was program director of the Bay Area Country Dance Society English Dance and Music Week. In addition, she leads callers' workshops for English country dance teachers. Check out her past gigs.
Brooke also calls for contra, barn, and family dances. She has been on the roster of guest presenters for visiting school groups program of the Center for Shakespeare Studies at SOU.
She and Chris have devised English and Scottish Country Dances, to increasing international acclaim, since 1996. They have published five books of dances—Impropriety Volume 1 in 2006, Impropriety Volume 2 in 2008, Impropriety Volume 3 in 2010, Impropriety Volume 4 in 2012, and Impropriety Volume 5 in 2015. In May 2009, they collaborated with the newly formed band Roguery (Anita Anderson and Dave Bartley from Seattle WA, Shira Kammen from Berkeley CA, and Jim Oakden from Santa Cruz CA) to produce a CD of music for the English Country Dances in Volume 1. In 2010, they produced a CD for Volume 2, in 2011 a CD for Volume 3, in 2012 a CD for Volume 4, and in 2015 a CD for Volume 5.
Theatrical choreography credits include SOU Department of Theatre Arts productions of Entertaining Strangers (with Chris), Dancing at Lughnasa and Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Oregon Cabaret Theatre’s world premiere Parcel From America.
Brooke was a founding member of The Heather and the Rose Country Dancers, a statewide organization promoting English and Scottish Country Dance with several branches throughout Oregon whose teachers use global terminology (no reference to gender) for calling dances. She served as H&R’s treasurer and secretary for seven years. She coordinates the Ashland branch’s annual spring ball that celebrated its 36th anniversary in 2016. Brooke joined the board of the Country Dance and Song Society as secretary in April 2014. Previously, she was on the CDSS board and executive committee for six years (2001-07) and served on the CDSS Youth Task Group.
In addition to teaching, organizing, and composing country dance, Brooke has been in several performing groups presenting English, Scottish, Irish and Garland dance and was on a Morris dance team for eight years. She loves to sing, especially rounds, and has taught round workshops and led round singing at a variety of events.
Brooke worked at Southern Oregon University for 13 years, for the Department of Theatre Arts as director of the Ashland Center for Theatre Studies, running theatre teacher training programs, and for SOU Extended Campus Programs managing arts and adult community education programs. She worked for the Arts Council of Southern Oregon, a regional arts service agency, for more than eight years. As Executive Director, Brooke was responsible for identifying and securing resources needed for the growth and development of the Arts Council including funds, board members and other resources. Brooke also managed the Arts in Education program, oversaw a small grants program, and provided consulting help to artists and arts organizations. She served for two years on the Oregon Arts Commission's statewide arts education long range planning committee.
When not dancing, choreographing, teaching, organizing, or singing, Brooke may be found working in her huge vegetable garden, birding, walking, or practicing yoga.
"During today's workshop and dance I asked what you appreciate most about Brooke. Based on your input, I'd like to wrap up this evening by thanking Brooke for her clear directions and relaxed approach to teaching, for her willingness to jump off the stage and onto the dance floor to demonstrate key points, and for the varied program of dances -- including dances with unusual elements -- she brought to Hands Across the Water this year."
-organizer for Hands Across the Water dance weekend in Victoria BC Canada 2011